by Stephanie Laurens

November 2001
ISBN: 0-06-018888-X
Reviewer Graphic Button William Morrow

Season's Greetings everyone! Here it is! The story all Cynster lovers have been waiting for, and it was well worth the wait! The love story of Sebastian Cynster, 5th Duke of St. Ives and Helena Rebecce de Stansion, Comtesse d'Lisle. This is where it all started.

On a moonlit Christmas Eve, Helena was strolling the gardens of the convent where she was being schooled. As she turns a corner, near a big tree, a man literally falls at her feet. He's the most handsome man she has ever dreamed of, and if truth were known, he also looks a bit dangerous, what else would he be, falling from a tree within the confines of a convent garden? When Sebastian looks up, from his prone position on the ground, it is to find the vision of a goddess staring down at him, with big, wide eyes, that for the life of him, he can't discern their color. When the nun's come running, screaming that there is a madman on the loose in the convent, Sebastian hides in the folds of the trees, while Helena points the nuns in the opposite direction. Being grateful to his goddess for not uncovering his whereabouts, he rewards Helena with a kiss. A wonderful, beautiful kiss, that holds the promise of tomorrow, and then he flees into the night.

Seven years later, Helena, now 23, enters London society to find a husband. She has never forgotten her handsome stranger, or the kiss that they had shared. While attending yet another ball, she sees him across the ballroom. How could, after seven years, the sight of him still stir something inside of her? Sebastian knew that something or someone had entered the ballroom; the hairs on the back of his neck were tingling. When he looked to find the cause, he sees her. She's more beautiful than he remembered. Begging an introduction, they come face to face, and in that first official meeting, the battle lines were drawn. He, Sebastian Cynster, Duke of St. Ives, who has sworn never to marry, has found his future duchess, now he must convince Helena that she belongs to him and no other. Little does he know, but Helena has a plan of her own. She will never marry any man who will rule over her or become a pawn in a man's game of power.

Helena's resistance to his seductions only fuels Sebastian's passion to conquer and win her, but Helena proves to be as stubborn and determined as he. Will he finally convince her that they belong together, that that fateful kiss, in the convent garden, was the promise of a future together?

This is the best Cynster story yet, and combined with the Christmas theme, makes it all the more romantic. Sebastian Cynster, is the personality mold from which all following Cynster males have come from. He's determined, stubborn, and ruggedly handsome. He has vowed that he will never marry, only to fall under the spell of a determined, stubborn woman, who breaks down every barrier around his heart, with just a kiss. Helena is the epitome of all Cynster wives to come. She has a mind of her own, and will never sacrifice her independence to any man.

Stephanie Laurens has outdone herself this time. She has given all Cynster fans the best book yet. The characters are very well written, the settings so lifelike, that you feel you're there, and the story itself, will warm your heart.

This book is a must-have for your Cynster library. If you haven't read any of the Cynster stories, please read the reviews on our website, and get started. You won't be sorry.

Happy Holidays!!!

Reviewed in November 2001 by Debbie.

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